House for Safety
Outdoor and indoor lighting is not only an easy and
inexpensive way to make your home and yard come alive
after dark, it's also a great way to scare off burglars!
Night burglars work in the dark because they don't want to
risk being seen by neighbours or anyone passing by.
Well-placed outdoor lights will not only keep your
visitors from stumbling over the dog, but will also
illuminate hiding places and points of entry to your
Safety lighting doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate.
The newest indoor/outdoor security lighting systems on the
market are generally low-cost and often easy to install by
the do-it-yourselfer. There are a variety of options to
photoelectric cells that automatically turn lights on at
dark and off at dawn;
motion detector floodlights;
low-voltage lighting systems; and
solar-powered lights that need no wiring at all (although
these tend to be more expensive).
Motion detectors, photo cells, timers Safety lighting
relies, to a great extent, on automatic controls. The most
common types include:
motion detectors - good for monitoring specific areas.
These switch lights on when someone walks by.
photo cells - excellent when you want lights on all night.
These turn light fixtures on when an area gets dark, then
switches them back off when light returns.
timers - ideal when you want to control lighting for
specific periods of time. These turn lights on and off at
pre-set intervals and can be used with other electronic
devices such as radios and televisions.
Outdoor safety lighting
Most homes require several types of fixtures and
controllers to light up a variety of exterior areas. Key
areas include the garage and driveway, all entrances,
walkways and any windows hidden by shrubs and bushes.
Walkways - A border of low-voltage landscape lights is
best. Working off a transformer that reduces household
electricity to 12V or 24V, these are energy efficient and
safe to use. Look for models and fixtures that have ground
stakes and are made of strong, weather-resistant plastic.
Entrances - Lights activated by motion sensors are your
best bet here. Some motion sensors, however, are so
sensitive they trip the switch when leaves or small
animals go past them. Look for models with adjustable
motion sensitivity and manual override so the light can be
activated from a standard wall switch.
Back yards, hidden areas - High intensity, motion sensing
floodlights are a great way to frighten off intruders
hiding in the back yard or along the sides of your house.
Mounting one on the garage will also light the driveway
for you at night. Look for an adjustable model where you
can set the amount of time the light stays on after motion
Indoor safety lighting
Safety lighting plays an important role inside as well as
outside the home. Well-traveled hallways and entrances are
the key areas to focus on. Motion-sensing switches will
turn lights on when you enter a room or pass through these
areas. Look for wall-mounted sensor light switches that
can control both incandescent and fluorescent fixtures,
and can be used manually or automatically.
To provide dim lighting in dark areas like hallways and
bathrooms, use small, plug-in night lights with photo
cells and/or manual controls. These are economical and
easy to mount. Some will even continue to operate for a
limited period of time after a power failure.
Some lighting tips
Avoid creating a "runway" effect on walkways by installing
lights opposite each other. Most walks only require a few
fixtures on one side. lf placing them on both sides, try
When lighting a curve, place fixtures on the inside.
You'll use fewer and the effect will be more dramatic.
Select fixtures that direct light where you want it. Along
a walkway, for example, light should be directed to the
Wait until dark to test your system. This is the best time
to see if you like the proposed placement.
Aim a floodlight at a plant or other yard feature to turn
it into a focal point.
Place a light behind a planter or other feature to make it
stand out from its surroundings.
Install a short light fixture that directs light upwards
through the branches of a tree or bush, or at the foot of
a garden statue.
Create a moonlight effect by attaching a fixture high on a
tree so that it casts light downward through the branches.